The dawn of a bright new day in health coverage
On the first day of October, health insurance “marketplaces” will open in every state. Three other key provisions of the health reform law will also go into effect that day.
The first of these provisions will benefit everyone who shops in the new marketplaces, but it will be especially valuable to adults between the ages of 55 and 64. On Oct. 1, people with pre-existing conditions, who may have previously faced denials of coverage or burdensome additional charges because of those conditions, will have the opportunity to buy health insurance that covers their conditions without having to pay additional costs.
This is more than a token change. In 2010, Families USA worked with one of the nation’s top health care and human services consulting firms to study the breadth of problems people with pre-existing conditions face. We found that approximately 57.2 million Americans under the age of 65 – more than one-fifth of that age group (22.4 percent) – had diagnosed pre-existing conditions that could lead to a denial of coverage in the individual health insurance market. Even more astounding was the finding that almost half of the people in that group – more than 30 million people – were aged 55 to 64. So while this provision of law will benefit everyone looking for coverage in the new marketplaces, its biggest and most direct positive impact will be on adults between age 55 and the age of Medicare eligibility.
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